Guest lectures: a way to learn about your professsion

This week as part of the geo-technical engineering course, we had a guest lecture from Norges Geotechnical Institute (NGI). It was a fascinating experience to get first hand information, from people working in the industry. The institute works on geotechnical issues in off- shore and on-shore projects.

Being a structural engineer, I always had keen interest in off-shore projects. They always pose ne,w unforseen challenges which provide tremendous scope for innovation and creativity. For someone looking to work in the off shore industry, this lecture was a gold mine of information; a credible way to learn how things look in the field, how tough the working conditions are and how stiff are the engineering challenges. The lecture started-off with the description of several challenges that have been dealt with in the past, like the foundations of the Opera house in Oslo, and the Palm Islands in Dubai. The emphasis was on the sudden and unforseen nature of the problems in these projects and how the engineers managed to rise up to them. The manner in which the presentation was conducted was unique, since it provided a blend of both experience and youth; the head of off-shore department gave the introduction, while a recently hired young engineer handled the later part of the presentation. They also shed light on how it can be tough to remain on a vessel, in the sea for several days and the psychological strength it takes to pull it off. Their words were well supported with pictures and videos that showed various aspects of the life in the off shore industry.

Oslo Opera House: One of the projects NGI worked on

Oslo Opera House: One of the projects that  NGI has worked on

I felt inspired after this experience and admired yet another trait that education at Chalmers possesses. You always stumble across events, lectures and seminars that reveal the practical side of your profession to you. It just clarifies your vision of where you want to see yourself work in the future. Of course there is a lot of information about every profession on the internet, but to get firsthand knowledge about the industry from the experts themselves is more assuring. The lecture was followed by an informal mingling session, which allowed the students to talk in person to the NGI’s representatives and seek professional advice if needed. I talked to their HR manager, and found her very polite, helpful and kind. I hope to attend more of such lectures in the future.